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Moving? Understand the Truth About Cats & Landlords

April 4, 2012
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I apologize to everyone in advance, but I feel the need to momentarily get up on my soapbox and confess something that’s been on my heart. So here we go.

Photo courtesy Remy Sharp

If you’re moving, please don’t consider a new place unless you’re allowed to have your cats there too.

Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand the hassle of moving and finding the right place to live. Before my husband and I moved into our current apartment, we looked at 17. That’s right, 1-7 different apartments. I thought about stressing that 17 times, but I think you get the idea. It was a *total* pain.

And you know what? There was one factor that made the search a bit more difficult, but it was worth it. We needed an apartment that allowed cats.

What made it even more complicated was finding a place that would accomodate our CHers. We only had CG at the time, but knew that hardwood stairs weren’t an option for him. Consequently, we had to pass on two places.

Before my husband and I had even started our apartment hunt, I had read a post on Catster about how to put your landlord at ease about your cats. It offered great tips, such as keeping your vet records handy, having references for your cat’s good behavior, etc. However, it didn’t even touch on the big issue:

Make sure your leased property allows cats.

And don’t even consider a place that doesn’t.

Once you and your landlord are on the same page, there shouldn’t be an issue.

CG on our moving day

In my experience, I’ve learned that instead of learning to deal with your landlord, first find one you can deal with. Most often that starts with one who’s fine with cats. Even if the listing claims cats aren’t allowed, give the landlord a call. Often he’ll amend the lease so you can have your cat — because odds are he’d rather simply lease the property than to lose money on it.

Now finding a landlord who will allow cats may somewhat limit your options, but as a pet owner, it’s your responsibility. I don’t see it being any different than someone deciding they need a certain number of bedrooms because they have a certain number of children.

I don’t mean to be completely heartless here. I understand that there are some situations when a family will honestly have to give up their cat. But I hope their first instinct is to have a close family member or friend take the cat — rather than reaching out to strangers on a social network, or surrendering it to your local shelter.

I’m sorry folks, but a cat isn’t a chair you can leave in the alley because it doesn’t fit in your new place. A cat’s a commitment, and it breaks my heart every time a cat is returned — or even worse is found outside, scanned and returned to the shelter because their family no longer wants it.

This is awful because most house cats don’t fare well in a shelter. In my experience, they’re the ones who are impacted the hardest. Imagine being abandoned by your family and transported to an entirely different life. Some of them just shut down. It’s heartbreaking.

Nevertheless, finding a normal landlord who will leave you alone with your felines can also be a challenge. I’ve had a crazy landlord tell a roommate and me that he wanted to paint our cats.

I hope he meant this:

And not this: 

And I’ve had another landlord freak out at me because she’s forgotten (multiple times) that our lease states we can have two cats and not just one.

But you know what? Dealing with that craziness is a super small price to pay.

So the next time you’re looking for a place, make sure to check the “Cats Allowed” box or tell your agent “And oh yeah, the place *must* allow cats.”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2012 7:06 am

    I am with you 200% on this issue.

  2. April 5, 2012 8:08 am

    I’ve worked in a shelter. The heartbreaking thing that so often happens is when a couple divorce or split up and each has to move out of a place they could afford together into anywhere they can manage to afford alone, and almost always this means a one room flat and no pets. People should think of their pets as well as of their children when they decide that suddenly they aren’t compatible any more.

  3. Rich Bergins permalink
    April 5, 2012 7:09 pm

    So true, very good points.

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